friendly flying

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[this was written mid-flight on friday, april 13th, so please excuse the present tense though i am just now publishing it five days later]

i love to travel. the excitement of exploring a new locale, the thrill of sampling the local cuisine (within reason, obvi), the beauty of interacting with the humanity that lies beyond my neighborhood acquaintances. i love it all. and i’ve been extremely fortunate enough to have crossed off some pretty fabulous cities from my “must-visit” list over the years.

the funny thing is (not really “haha” funny, more like, “that’s strange” funny), if i had to be completely honest (which i always hope i am), i’d have to confess that i’m not super keen on flying. and seeing as most of the locations i have been to or have yet to tour warrant air travel as the ideal means of transportation, i’ve had to learn to love it.

or at least tolerate it enough to avoid a bad case of anxiety every time the cabin doors close in preparation of departure. because i’m pretty sure that second only to a screaming infant, a crazed lady who is mid-panic attack and a viable candidate for sedation ranks amongst the worst travel companions, right?

so i’ve learned to grow my keenness for flying. my ever-growing wanderlust alone requires it. and with every passing vacation, work conference, and “i’m attending-slash-a bridesmaid-in-a-wedding”-driven trip, i do believe my abhorrence for air travel has taken shaq-sized steps toward its counterpart, affinity.

so yes, as i write this, i am actually in an aircraft (sung to the tune of “i’m on a boat”), airborne and en route to nashville. and what do you know, i am not wearing a straight-jacket (although this seat belt is questionable) nor have i been pumped with sedatives. in other words, on a scale of one to padded room, i’m cool as a cucumber. okay, that’s kind of a lie, let’s go with content as a cauliflower because a) as far as veggies go, i like cauliflower more than cucumbers and b) i’ll never be 100% calm, cool, and collected on a flight; i suppose no matter how many times i travel or how often i’m assured of the severe unlikelihood of any and all aircraft catastrophes, at the end of the day it’s still a giant tin box floating in the sky. i mean, no disrespect wright brothers but logically that fact alone is buh-nan-uhs.

cue gwen stefani song.

but i digress. per usual (and really really badly this time).

today, at an unsightly hour, i packed up my carry-on and threw on my fedora (hats really are lifesavers at 4:30 a.m.), ready for my trip to america’s heartland. perhaps my anxiety didn’t hear the alarm because even as my sweet guy braved the dark morning to escort me to lindbergh field, my nerves were as calm as i’ve ever experienced them to be pre-departure. and maybe that’s a testament to the fact that after countless plane rides in the last year alone i’m finally getting the hang of this “up in the air” thing. or maybe the sarcastic remarks and countless giggles (as well as the heartfelt goodbye) that preceded my curbside drop-off were just the ammunition i needed to face my fears head on. or maybe it’s the fact that i have been looking forward to this particular visit for months and no amount of anxiety could cripple me so much as to hinder my sheer and utter euphoria of being reunited with my bestie.

i’ll take D -all of the above.

and though i sat content (as a cauliflower) in front of gate 4, starbucks americano with soy and oatmeal in hand, feverishly consuming every literary morsel of these hunger games everyone seems to be talking about these days, i couldn’t help but grow a more calmed demeanor when a glasses-clad gentleman with a face of familiarity stepped into view.

“[names have been removed to protect those who may or may not read my blog]?”

yep, at 6:00 a.m. at san diego international airport i had myself a mini high school reunion. ironically enough, this particular friend and i have recently reconnected prior to this fortuitous run-in (thank you, facebook). he was on his way to nashville for another high school friend’s wedding. of course he was. i had chosen the same weekend to visit b as our fellow santa fe’er had chosen to carry out his nupts. such a funny coincidence.

but a coincidence that autmotically warranted me a “buddy” for the plane ride. a little piece of home amidst my usual unrest.

but wait, there’s more!

as he sat down beside me, the sleep still claiming real estate in his eyes, i couldn’t help but laugh. i mean, of all of flights, on all of the days, to all of the places.

and if that wasn’t enough, just minutes later another pair of recognizable faces came into view -a mom and dad of one of my fellow cheerleaders from my high school squad. what the…?

and regardless of our reasons for traveling to nashville this morning, the main thing i have since concluded from all of this is that God is kind of awesome. not kind of, he IS awesome. He knew it would be difficult for me to board that plane, not because i had had a change of heart about the reason for my travels (because hi, i wanted to be in nash like yesterday to finally see my b!), but because i still harbor a tiny bit (it’s probably a little bigger than “tiny”; maybe “wee” bit? is “wee” bigger than “tiny” or vice versa? how does one measure that exactly?) of fear of flying. moreso flying solo.

[i know i should be used to it by now this whole “flying solo” thing, i was very good at it for a good 26 years (see what i did there?)]

because i have always had this irrational fear of [whales, well that is true, too] of going down in a plane crash alone -sans friends, family or other miscellaneous loved ones. and like i said, that though this scary thought has lessened its power significantly over the years, some old habits die hard. so when i was graced by the presence of an old friend of whom to accompany me on this early morning journey in the sky, i couldn’t help but attribute this little sense of comfort and relief to my Lord whose providence never ceases to amaze me.

there have been (and probably will continue to be) moments in my life where i didn’t (don’t) feel the Lord’s presence; moments when i’m sure that somehow i’ve weasled my way out from under the safety of His mighty hands. but at those times, i’ll think of this morning. today. His little gift to me on this april friday, and be reminded of His never-ending quest to solidify His love and persistence of me.

i used to want to write my own life’s script, and until very recently, i still had a vice grip on that pen. but on days like this morning (coupled with most of life’s recent happenings on the whole), i can honestly conclude that i’ll leave the screenplay up to the Head Writer of Life Himself. Because His play seems to be WAY more interesting and fun than anything i could ever compose on my own.

can i get an amen?

i wish i was this stylish while flying.

1 Comment
  • Rachel Johnson
    April 19, 2012

    I love this post! I laughed out loud at the phrase “one to padded room.” xo

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